It’s always an entertaining time on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” when Joe Scarborough has to pull a guest back from the abyss that is the anti-Trump conspiracy theory.
If you want to see this kind of thing in action, let me refer you to a bit of witty banter last month during which Scarborough’s other half, co-host Mika Brzezinski, questioned Barron Trump’s paternity in a quasi-jocund fashion.
I suppose you can’t eject your wife and co-anchor from the set lest you want to sleep on the couch until Barron Trump reaches the age of majority (or you find another co-host to wed), but Scarborough tried to back away from the topic like a man endeavoring to discover how fast his car can go in reverse.
If you’re a connoisseur of these sorts of things, Thursday’s edition of “Morning Joe” was for you. That’s because one of the guests was Donny Deutsch, an ad executive and weekend host on Scarborough’s network.
I never found Deutsch to be that securely moored to reality’s harbor from back in his days at CNBC, but I really never paid much attention to him then, since watching the network for more than 15 minutes in those days meant running at least a 50/50 chance of seeing some footage of Jim Cramer. Being averse as I am to over-caffeinated men over-enthusiastically whacking oversized buttons while delivering stock advice, I didn’t get to watch Donny much in those days.
It turns out my suspicions about Deutsch’s sanity were correct. Now that he’s moved over to MSNBC, Deutsch’s takes have alternated between comic relief and outrageousness. He thinks Trump voters should be told they’re Nazis. He’s said Trump supporters “own the blood” over mass shootings. And now, he’s saying that Trump’s been laundering money from the Russians for the last 30 years.
“This is all about failed casinos,” Deutsch said during his appearance, according to Fox News.
“[Trump] is owned by Putin because he’s been laundering money, Russian money, for the last 20, 30 years. He’s owned by them.”
“You talk to any banker in New York, any business person in New York, any real estate person … we have a president that’s selling out our military, that’s costing lives, because he is owned by our geopolitical enemy,” Deutsch continued.
“Because he’s been laundering money for him as a criminal organization for the last 30 years.”
— Morning Joe (@Morning_Joe) October 24, 2019
Oh, well, talk to any banker or real-estate person or what-have-you. Well, that settles it, I believe him.
Scarborough, understandably, tried to put the brakes on this like Fred Flintstone digging in his heels.
“That, that, that, that is, that is speculation and only speculation right now,” he said.
“I will say that it is speculation among New York bankers who have loaned Donald Trump money in the past, and who have been following his business career.”
However, Joe Scarborough is still Joe Scarborough and he was perfectly willing to take the ball and run with it, substituting his own brand of more media-friendly baseless speculation.
“We all will be absolutely fascinated when we finally figure out what Vladimir Putin has on Donald Trump and why Donald Trump has surrendered the Middle East, helped ISIS, helped Iran, helped Russia, helped Turkey, helped all of our enemies and betrayed all of our allies,” Scarborough said.
“A lot of people think… [Putin] has compromising pictures or something happened in a hotel in Russia years ago. No. It goes back to money. It’s always about money.”
Just not that Trump was laundering money for the Russians since the last days of the Soviet Union. Please, let’s not engage in evidence-free conjecture here.
I suppose MSNBC might want to relive the heady days back when Robert Mueller had yet to deliver his report and this kind of speculation about what kind of claws the Russians might have in Donald Trump was actually respectable. Now, it’s just conspiracy theorizing — and not checking your facts on this kind of thing can get you in trouble, as MSNBC host another Lawrence O’Donnell found out this summer.
I almost wonder why Deutsch hasn’t fully moved onto Ukraine yet. All sorts of reckless speculation will pass muster as far as that’s concerned.
Meanwhile, any serious belief that the Russians were secretly manipulating Trump via investments ended, more or less, with the Mueller report.
Anyone who wants to keep it alive deserves nothing but our derision. I’d almost rather watch Jim Cramer.
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